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PREFACE                                      xi

Since hatred is an expression of incompetence, he never knew personal
hatred, because he did not know incompetence. On the whole, we get
the impression that he played and sang through life and enjoyed it
tremendously, and when sorrow came and 'misfortune fell, he accepted
them with a smile. That is the kind of charm which I am trying to
describe in my lame and halting fashion and which has made him the
favourite poet of so many Chinese scholars.

This is the story of a poet, painter, and friend of the people. He
felt strongly, thought clearly, wrote beautifully, and acted with high
courage, never swerved by his own interests or the changing fashions
of opinion. He did not know how to look after his own welfare, but
was immensely interested in that of his fellow men. He was warm,
generous, never saved a penny,-but felt as rich as a, king. He was
stubborn, garrulous but witty, careless of his speech, one who wore his
heart on his sleeve; versatile, curious, profound, and frivolous, romantic
in manners and classicist in letters^ a Confucianist as a father, brother,
and husband, but a Taoist under his skin, and a hater of all shams and
hypocrisy. He was so much better a writer and scholar than others
that he never had to be jealous, and he was so great he could afford
to be gentle and -kind. Simple and unaffected, he never cared for the
trappings of dignity; when he was shackled with an office, he described
himself as a harnessed deer. Living in troublous times, he became the
stormy petrel of politics, an enemy of a fatuous, selfish bureaucracy
and a champion of the people against their oppressors. With the suc-
cessive emperors as his personal admirers and the empresses as his
friends, Su Tungpo managed to be demoted and arrested, and to live in

The best saying of Su Tungpo and the best description of himself was
what he said to his brother Tseyu:

"Up above, I can associate with the Jade Emperor of Heaven,
and down below I can associate with the poor folks. I think there
is not a single bad person in this world."

So he had reason to be joyous and unafraid, and went through life like
a whirlwind.

The story of Su Tungpo is essentially the story of a mind. He was a
Buddhist in metaphysics, and knew that life was a temporary expres-
sion of something else, an eternal spirit in a temporary carcass, but he
could never accept the thesis that life was a burden and a miseryŚnot
quite. At least for himself, he enjoyed every moment he lived. Meta-
physically he was Hindu, but temperamentally he was Chinese. Out of
the Buddhist faith to annihilate lie, the Confucian faith to live it, and
the Taoist faith to simplify it, a new amalgam was formed in the